Bordered by the Tapajós and Amazon rivers, Santarém is a city of astonishing sights. From the beaches that run alongside Av Tapajós, the two rivers flow side-by-side without mixing, creating two distinct bands of different coloured water. The famous ‘Meeting of the Waters’ is one of Brazil’s greatest natural attractions.
The centre of Santarém is home to the Mercado Modelo – city market – and is filled with stores and boutiques selling traditional produce. The whole area is steeped in history, from ancient petroglyphs in nearby Monte Alegre to the volatile Amazonian rubber trade. One museum, the unique Museu Dica Frazao, exhibits day-to-day items made from other natural sources like grasses and trees from the surrounding Amazonian plains.
On the riverfront, the Centro Cultural João Fona has relics from the ancient indigenous Tapajós culture. The city also boasts a charming promenade, breezy parks and several fine restaurants.
Meeting of the Waters
This natural phenomenon is when the Amazon meets the Tapajós, another massive Brazilian river. These two waters join close to the city, but those who go on a river cruise will notice that the waters will remain two distinct colours for several miles. Such is the force of these two rivers that it takes quite a while for the two shades to mix into one.
Alter do Chão
With crystalline waters, white sand beaches and a laid-back vibe, the village of Alter do Chão is known as the ‘Caribbean of the Amazon’. Located on the Tapajós River, Santarém’s weekend resort is the ideal location to relax and soak up the Amazon sun.